Wednesday 21 March 2018

‘Kick his chauffeur too’: a brilliant man who just doesn’t fit in

The deep undercurrents of Irish politics may be the reason for the decidedly mixed reaction to Tony O’Reilly’s insolvency

Anthony O’Reilly
Anthony O’Reilly

THE best-known of Sir Anthony O'Reilly's myriad funny stories concerned himself, and perhaps was the most telling of them all.

It was his final appearance in an Ireland rugby shirt. It was an emergency call-up; he was already a prominent businessman and not exactly match-fit. A fumbled ball, a blow to the head, and as he recovered his senses O'Reilly heard a voice from the crowd shout, "And kick his bloody chauffeur as well!"

O'Reilly attracts admiration and dislike in equal measure. Or perhaps the dislike exceeds the admiration. It is easy to see why he would be admired: good-looking, charming, a brilliant sportsman, a remarkable raconteur and, for all but the last few years, hugely successful.

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